Week 77 – Work Hard, Pray Hard

All the homies!!!
March 7, 2016
Life is Gooooodd!!

Man alive…being a missionary is the best job on this planet!! Wahooooo!!!  It really is. This week has been lots of fun as Elder Han and I got to work!! I also got to go on exchanges with Elder Ash this week, which was so fun to relive the winter months that we were together.

Exchanges with Elder Ash!
(Reliving all the fun memories)
I have come to learn that life is really all about relationships. President Chesnut has been focusing a lot on how we can build relationships with everyone...our investigators, the members of our wards, the local church leadership (Stake Presidents, Bishops, etc), other missionaries, and most importantly, our Savior, Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven. I am grateful for this concept that he has taught me, because it is so true. In 10 years from now, the things that I remember the most will be the people. On that note, our area is doing well! We had many appointments fall through with most of our solid investigators. But a quick update:

Helping Jose wash his dogs
Jose - He is about the same.  He came to church, but still isn't reading the Book of Mormon on his own. We went over this past week and he asked for our helping bathing his dogs, which was a total riot! He is hilarious; we love just spending time with him. He has a Sister who lives in Provo, UT and apparently she is anti-LDS but he said that he will come visit us after the mission in Provo and we can go over to his Sister's house and "persuade her" to join the church. Then he said he wants to come to Virginia, so I offered for him to stay at our house sometime, and then he said he would take us to Guatemala someday and show us around his hometown. We love him!

Jonathan - His mom told him that she wants him to take it REALLY slow with the church, so maybe he can be baptized by the end of this year.  We were pretty bummed about that, but we can't do anything about it except for pray for him regularly! We didn't teach him this past week…he started track season and is busy all the time. But he is an awesome kid and will be a great missionary one day! He actually reminds me a lot of Owen Salyer.

The four Spanish missionaries from our branch - at MLC
Beba - We were able to teach her AND her twin brother this past week, and it was a great lesson! Her Brother, Otto, was really standoffish at the beginning when Elder Han first started going over there, but he has warmed up to us, and even came to mutual two weeks ago! This past Thursday, we had a great lesson with Beba and Otto, and they both are onboard to help each other quit their current habits and live the Word of Wisdom! One of the reasons that Beba struggled to keep the Word of Wisdom before was because her twin brother, Otto, was still breaking the commandment, and so substances were always around her. Now they are both on board and we are hoping and praying that it will help the situation. We are really excited to keep working with them and help them progress. They didn't come to church yesterday, which was a bummer, but there is always next week!

Luciano Family:  We didn't get to teach them this past week, and they didn't come to church. :(   We were pretty bummed about that, because last week at this time we were super excited!! But we have another appointment this Tuesday with them, so we are hoping to get them on track.

Mission MLC - March 2016
One of the hardest things that has happened to me throughout my whole mission is when we find a new investigator, they are excited to welcome us into their home, we have a great and powerful first discussion, and then we never see them again for one reason or another. It has happened so many times to me! We get really pumped after the first discussion, and then they are busy with something and cancel an appointment and keep pushing us back, or they suddenly decide to drop us, or something comes up. It is really frustrating because we know that they feel the Spirit in their first few experiences with us, yet something happens and they fall through the cracks. I think it is something that all missionaries experience and I have truly come to learn that Satan is working just as hard as we are to thwart our work and stop people's progression. I definitely know that Satan is real and is doing everything possible to stop us.

For example: last night we went over and taught a lesson to Otto, and while we were trying to read 1 Nephi 1 with him, their little Chihuahua dog was yapping all lesson long, his mom was using the sewing machine, there were two little kids yelling, jumping, playing, and screaming the whole time, and in the next room there was Mexican rap music BLARING. It was honestly a crazy situation that is NOT ideal for teaching someone. But nevertheless, we started our lesson with a prayer, read the chapter, and he actually understood it and got something out of it, and then ended with a closing prayer and left, and I know he still felt the Spirit.

With the two other elders who serve in the branch with us
Ever since Mom sent me that talk for her Relief Society class, ("Faith is Not By Chance, But By Choice" by Elder Neil L. Anderson...click HERE for the link), the word "relentless" has been on the top of my mind.  In order to be truly successful in the mission field, and really in life as a whole, we have to be relentless in putting on our spiritual armor and fending off Satan. I picture it in my mind like a running back running through the middle of the line and then plowing over a few defenders and making a few guys miss and having linebackers trying to drag him down, but he just can't be stopped! Satan is always throwing his best "defenders" our way to stop us and stop our progression. This is why we have to ALWAYS read our scriptures, and ALWAYS pray and ALWAYS attend church, because that is how we put our spiritual armor on and defend against the adversary. Some people think that it is rocket science to figure out how to be happy, but really it is not. There is a reason that we are regularly inviting our investigators to do those basic three things, because they really are the keys to success. This scripture is kinda taken out of context, but I know that it applies in this situation, too: 3 Nephi 18:12:

"And I give unto you a commandment that ye shall do these things. And if ye shall always do these things blessed are ye, for ye are built upon my rock." 

I know that as we stick to the basics, Heavenly Father will endow us with power to overcome temptations, and our testimonies will grow. Our testimonies are like trying to hold water in a bowl made with your hands cupped together...it doesn't stay forever, but leaks out. We have to constantly fill up our testimonies with the basics. 

The Church is true everyone! I know it is. My life has been changed forever because of it! 

Have a great week!


Elder Todd
Jose in his tiny car

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